Photo courtesy of Fluco Journalism

Explore the Environment with FCHS Envirothon

November 8, 2018

Envirothon is an annual, environmentally- themed academic competition that allows high school students to be in competitions sponsored by the NCF (National Conservation Foundation.)  In 1979, the Pennsylvania Soil and Water Conservation Districts set up what’s called the Environmental Olympics. It was expanding rapidly, which in return 40 conservation districts had joined by 1987.  

It gained attention from many other states, and in 1988, the program became the national Envirothon. Some fun things you can learn about are aquatic ecology, forestry, soils and land use, other topics include tree and shrub physiology, Forest Ecology, and so much more. Aquatic Ecology includes Abiotic and Biotic factors, as well as, Aquatic Environments, Water Protection, and Conservation. Soils and Land use will also include, Physical Properties of soil and soil formation, as well as Soil Ecosystems, Chemical properties of soil, Soil texture, and many other things. “The Virginia Envirothon is a team based natural resources competition for high school students.” (http://vaswcd.org/envirothon).

“Students who participate learn stewardship and management concepts” (http://vaswcd.org/envirothon).  Virginia’s Envirothon program is supported through the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund. There are Hundreds of teachers and professionals throughout Pennsylvania guide high school students through this natural resource environmental program.    

Anyone can join the FCHS Envirothon club, although 8th graders may join , but cannot participate in the competitions until grade 9. “Ida Swenson, a Master Naturalist, as well as a Fluco volunteer approached Mr. [Aaron] Grubbs, and Mrs. [Amy] Zdonski  two years ago to start the Envirothon club.” (said club sponsor Amy Zdonski who owns the club with Aaron Grubbs)  

The club has a local representative for the Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District, who also assisted in the club’s initial formation and provides continual support. The club was started because they saw an opportunity to provide another academic extracurricular option for students that would also contribute to environmental stewardship within Fluvanna county.

“The club has 5-7 regularly attending students, which works out well,” said Zadonski, who notes “Additional teams will be formed when the club grows.” The club meets every Thursday in room 3204  to learn about forestry, aquatics, wildlife, and soils.

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